Category Archives: Culture

“Stossel” to cover Atlas Shrugged on Thursday

I just received the following announcement via Stuart Hayashi:

On Thursday, January 7, 2010, the Fox Business Network will air the episode of “Stossel” that will be about Atlas Shrugged happening in real life and happening today. It will be on at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Should be interesting.

UPDATE (1/29/10): You can now watch it online, here.

Avatar: The Atlas Shrugged of the Left

A new article by Nick Rizzuto at begins:

For 52 years now, Ayn Randâ??s Atlas Shrugged has stood alone as the shining example of political allegory. Rand’s novel has long been considered to be essential reading for American individualists and advocates of free markets. The American left on the other hand has not had a work of fiction that definitively embodies their worldview. Avatar might just fill that void. While the two stories are powerful, their messages are diametrically opposed.

See the full article for much more.

John Stossel may kick off his new Fox News show with Atlas Shrugged

From an interesting new interview with John Stossel about his new show on Fox News:

Stossel. How did you come up with that name?

They just sprung it on me.

Tell me a little bit about what the show is going to be.

It will be one subject. The first subject will be maybe Atlas Shrugged or global warmingâ??Atlas Shrugged because I think 50 years ago, Ayn Rand predicted today. It sort of sums up what Iâ??m going to be reporting about.

Ayn Rand predicted what?

Big government, nice-sounding legislation like â??The Preservation of Livelihood Law,â? which mandated that Hank Reardenâ??s production must not be bigger than any other steel mill, to make it a level playing field. Itâ??s silly.

Is that a new law passed by this Congress?

No, but itâ??s what Wesley Mouch, the evil bureaucrat in the book, passed. And what Tim Geithner and what Barney Frank might like to pass.

See the full interview for more.

Zogby survey: 25% of Americans have read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged?

From an ARI press release:

A recent Zogby national online survey indicates that 24.8 percent of the 2,232 respondents have read Ayn Randâ??s novel â??Atlas Shrugged.â?

When asked why they chose to read â??Atlas Shrugged,â? 37.6 percent of respondents in the online survey said it was recommended by a friend or colleague, 18.4 percent had it assigned or recommended in school, 9.9 percent read or heard about it in a print/Internet article or radio/TV program, 8.4 percent saw it in a library, and 1.9 percent noticed it in a bookstore.

The survey also indicated that 19.8 percent of respondents have read Ayn Randâ??s â??The Fountainhead,â? 6.9 percent â??Anthem,â? 4 percent â??We the Living,â? and 3 percent â??The Virtue of Selfishness.â?

In the past two years, national telephone surveys of about 1,100 people have indicated that 8.1 percent of respondents had read â??Atlas Shrugged.â? The latest online survey was randomly drawn from a pool of several hundred thousand people while the telephone surveys were drawn at random from larger lists of people who own telephones.

New York Times Book Review covers Anne C. Heller’s new Ayn Rand biography

The New York Times Book Review has given front-cover treatment to a review of Anne Heller’s new Rand biopic.

In response, Atlasphere member Don Hauptman penned the following letter to the editor:

To the Editor:

Adam Kirsch, in his review of Anne Hellerâ??s biography of Ayn Rand (Nov. 1), commits far too many serious mistakes than can be refuted in a brief letter. So letâ??s consider just one:

â??Giving up her [Randâ??s] royalties to preserve her vision is something that no genuine capitalist, and few popular novelists, would have done. It is the act of an intellectual, of someone who believes that ideas matter more than lucre.â?

Kirsch is alleging that one cannot be an advocate of capitalism and retain oneâ??s integrity. In fact, of course, writers and other creative professionals are also businesspeople who like to earn money. Yet such individuals can and do act ethicallyâ??by turning down contracts and assignments and commissions and their attendant revenuesâ??if acceptance would compromise their principles. Kirschâ??s bizarre implication that one must either be a prostitute or an â??intellectualâ? is misguided and fallacious.

Integrity as the highest value of the creator-capitalist is one of the major themes of Randâ??s classic novel â??The Fountainhead.â? Perhaps Kirsch should have read it. Or, failing that, simply exercised some common sense.

New York

Ayn Rand on The Daily Show, with Jon Stewart

Jennifer Burns, author of the new Rand biography Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, was interviewed last night on The Daily Show.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Jennifer Burns
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Ron Paul Interview

Diana Hsieh offers a good analysis of the interview from an Objectivist’s perspective, and I agree with her when she says, “That’s the kind of interview that will intrigue people about Ayn Rand’s ideas. Given what might have happened in that interview, I count it as a huge win.”

Burns did a very, very nice job in this interview. WOW.

We’re in the process of lining up an interview with Ms. Burns, for publication shortly after we review her new book for our columns section. Stay tuned.

Ayn Rand in TIME magazine

From an article in TIME, pre-dated to October 12, 2009:

She knew how to make an entrance. Her dark hair cut in a severe pageboy, Ayn Rand would sweep into a room with a long black cape, a dollar-sign pin on her lapel and an ever present cigarette in an ivory holder. Melodramatic, yes, but Rand didn’t have time to be subtle. She had millions of people to convert to objectivism, her philosophy of radical individualism, limited government and avoidance of altruism and religion. Her adoring followers–some called them a cult–revered her as the high priestess of laissez-faire capitalism until her death in 1982 at age 77.

The bad economy has been good news for Rand’s legacy. Her fierce denunciations of government regulation have sent sales of her two best-known novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, soaring. Yet her me-first brand of capitalism has been excoriated for fomenting the recent financial crisis. And her most famous former acolyte–onetime Fed chairman Alan Greenspan–has been blamed for inflating the housing bubble by refusing to intervene in the market.


See the full article, “Ayn Rand: Extremist or Visionary?” for more. Its factual accuracy seems sketchy in places, but that’s par for the course.

The New York Times Profiles Objectivist CEO John Allison

A mostly favorable and long (6 pages) profile of Objectivist and former BB&T CEO (current Chairman) John Allison from Sunday’s New York Times: 

Over much of the last four decades, John A. Allison IV built BB&T from a local bank in North Carolina into a regional powerhouse that has weathered the economic crisis far better than many of its troubled rivals â?? largely by avoiding financial gimmickry.

And in his spare time, Mr. Allison travels the country making speeches about his bankâ??s distinctive philosophy.

Speaking at a recent convention in Boston to a group of like-minded business people and students, Mr. Allison tells a story: A boy is playing in a sandbox, only to have his truck taken by another child.  A fight ensues, and the boyâ??s mother tells him to stop being selfish and to share.

â??You learned in that sandbox at some really deep level that itâ??s bad to be selfish,â? says Mr. Allison, adding that the mother has taught a horrible lesson.  â??To say man is bad because he is selfish is to say itâ??s bad because heâ??s alive.â?

If Mr. Allisonâ??s speech sounds vaguely familiar, itâ??s because itâ??s based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand, who celebrated the virtues of reason, self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism while maintaining that altruism is a destructive force.  In Ms. Randâ??s world, nothing is more heroic â?? and sexy â?? than a hard-working businessman free to pursue his wealth.  And nothing is worse than a pesky bureaucrat trying to restrict business and redistribute wealth.

- Intro to “Give BB&T Liberty, But Not A Bailout”, The New York Times, August 2